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Field of dreams

IS ANYONE prepared to stump up £100,000 to bring back cricket to the world famous Birtles Bowl?

IS ANYONE prepared to stump up £100,000 to bring back cricket to the world famous Birtles Bowl?

Nobody in the tiny village will ever forget the drama, showbiz and Sixties psychedelia that descended on Birtles twenty years ago - after hippy millionaire "Lord" Tim Hudson transformed the pitch into a colourful cricket circus.

Former DJ, actor and rock star manager Hudson, 65, who bought the lordship of Birtles Manor for £70,000 in 1986, brought legends like Ian Botham, Viv Richards and Geoff Boycott to the flamboyantly painted stadium - as well as bands like New Order and Echo and the Bunnymen.

Multi-coloured striped blazers, panama hats, magarita cocktails and Krug in the rainbow pavilion were de rigeur in those crazed days - which saw Beefy spreadeagled in the back of a vintage motor smoking a cigar as he was driven to the ground.

But those delirious days of celebrity and rock and roll flower power are now long gone and the ground, now owned by a London based financial institution, is overgrown, derelict and up for sale. Agents are selling the ten acre site, which saw the cream of world cricket take on the eccentric's private team the Hudson Hollywood Eleven, with a deadline of February 23 and expect to receive about £100,000.

About four parties are believed to be interested but because the land is on green belt and only has planning permission for use as a sports or leisure venue - it is extremely unlikely it could be developed into housing.

That has raised hopes that the Bowl, which has not seen a game since the Eighties, could return to public use for local cricket sides.

Neighbour Colonel Geoffrey Sparrow, who sold the land to Hudson at auction and who locked horns with him on a number of occasions, entered the derelict ground into a Council for the Protection of Rural England "grot spot" competition.

When it came second, the incorrigible Hudson, who voiced characters in Disney's The Jungle Book and The Aristocrats, and his American heiress wife Maxi feigned outrage, saying: "We always come first!"

Col Sparrow said: "What it needs is a genuine cricket man to take it over and renovate it.

"Our village side and I believe Henbury as well would really welcome that.

"I am awfully pleased that this looks like finally coming to an end."

Beatles fanatic Lord Tim, who claims to have coined the term "flower power", discovered The Moody Blues and introduced The Rolling Stones to America and who even penned a number one single in the US charts, sold the 18th century Birtles Old Hall and moved to The States in 1990.

Prestbury-born Hudson, Maxi, and daughter River returned to Birtles at the end of the nineties in a bid to restore the vandalised stadium to its former glory.

The family lived in the pavilion - by then a sad shadow of its former glory - without heating or running water.

After a series of bitter planning rows with neighbours and Macclesfield Borough Council, Hudson, who now exhibits and paints erotic art, returned to America.

 

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